Commonwealth v. Murray

In Commonwealth v. Murray, the Pennsylvania Superior Court created a substantial handicap to any criminal defendant who wishes to bring a Batson challenge. The assistant district attorney used all but one of his peremptory strikes to strike minority venirepersons. In offering a race-neutral basis for this pattern, the prosecutor offered such reasons as one potential juror wearing a fanny pack, which ostensibly showed “the level of maturity he brings to a case like this.” The trial court accepted the reasoning and denied the Batson challenge. On appeal, the Superior Court affirmed, holding that the defendant failed to note “those Pennsylvania specific criteria necessary to a prima facie case” such as the race of the jurors who served, the race of the jurors acceptable to the Commonwealth but stricken by the defendant, the race of the venirepersons in the jury pools, or the race of the venirepersons remaining after challenges for cause.

MURRAY